A few days ago, when the “Handelsblatt” reported about my employers’ plans to possibly lay off some 40% of their German workers, I commented about that. I was angry, and it clearly shows in what I wrote.
Meanwhile, our committee addressed this report of Handelsblatt to our top management here in Germany, demanding answers – which we haven’t got, and likely won’t get. In the message the committee sent us, they added an answer button to comment, and to tell them our thoughts about the topic.
That got me thinking.
While I still stand to Edward Abbey’s “Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.”, this wasn’t anything which our shareholders demanded – but it was promised to them: a rise of EPS (earnings per share) from 10 up to 20$ until the year 2015. It’s now at some 13 dollars something, and promised is promised – that goal has to be met, somehow. And no, I’m not suggesting that this goal has to be achieved with the laying off of anybody; don’t get me wrong.
But the plans to outsource future development work don’t sound so bad – even the biggest company cannot grow beyond some borders. And until now, and in the past, I have and had lots of trust in Sam Palmisano (who left), and the IBM in general, even if his “smarter planet” speech was later used by marketing to an extend which was borderline embarassing.
So instead of pressing that answering button and telling the work committee my opinion, I’d rather listen to both sides first. Somehow, this reminded me of the fictional Thomas Carcetti who runs for mayor in the fourth season of “The Wire”. He’s a nice character, wanting to do everything right, and after successfully defeating his corrupt predecessor, he’s elected. He wins. Then he meets up with the antecessor of his predecessor, an now old guy named Tony, asking for advice. Here goes:
Later on, after a week or so, while still trying to make everything better, and to do a great job, he gets the news that the city schools have a two digit million minus. He had promised to improve this, and to spend money on the police and the city in general as well, so what to do with this? At the same time, he’s offered money from third party, so after thinking for a moment, he turns to his consultant (also a nice and very wise guy), and tells him:
“Well, I guess this is my first bowl of sh…”
Like I wrote in the headline, I really like “The Wire”, tho it’s sad and brutal and surely not for everyone. But it’s different, because it shows us ourselves…
I’ll comment on this again if and when there’s anything new to comment. Thanks for reading.